LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — East Bernstadt preschooler Tate Burke will be celebrating his fourth birthday in style, as he and his family were awarded an all expenses paid trip via the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Tate was born with two severe disabilities in 2010, nonverbal autism and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Tate’s DMD is only found in young males and is considered the most extreme form. The disease is usually found at the age of two, approximately when his mother, Kate, heard of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“The hospital gave us a package, but we waited two years to follow up,” Kate Burke said. “We called, and they set us up with a charter in Ohio and we told them where we preferred to go – that was back in the summer.”
It only took four months of deliberation for the Burkes to be awarded. In November, they received the call. They now eagerly wait to hear if they’ll be going to Give Kids The World, a resort in Orlando, Fla., catering specifically to children with special needs, or an equally exclusive resort in Hawaii.
“Tate loves the water. It’s easier on his muscles,” Kate said. “Tate also loves music, and both have lots of music.
“We knew it was something we could never provide for Tate,” she continued. “But it will be a completely worry-free, full seven days.”
Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. Four steps are involved in the process, from referrals all the way to specifically tailored wishes. According to the Foundation, a wish is granted every 38 minutes, an occurrence that can often be a “game-changer.”
Burke also plans to hold a walk or run to raise awareness for muscular dystrophy as well as autism, and is actively seeking avenues to do so. Burke has a Facebook page to raise awareness about Duchenne muscular dystrophy at www.facebook.com/TatesTeamHeadquarters, where the phases, symptoms and research concerning the disease are publicly discussed.